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Gig companies oppose U.S. push for worker employee status, suggest compromise | The Mighty 790 KFGO

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By Tina Bellon

(Reuters) – Under growing threat by a new U.S. administration insistent on reclassifying ride-hail and food delivery workers as employees with full benefits, gig economy companies including Uber, Lyft, Doordash and Instacart are pushing to keep drivers’ independent contractor status, albeit with additional benefits.

The companies, whose business model relies on low-cost flexible labor, argue that surveys show the majority of their workers do not want to be employees, saying a new generation of workers wants to choose when and how much to work.

They hope to convince U.S. officials and lawmakers to drop attempts to reclassify gig workers as employees, efforts that have gained urgency with the election of U.S. President Joe Biden, who campaigned on the promise of delivering benefits to gig workers.

U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh on Thursday intensified the debate, telling Reuters in an interview that “a lot of gig workers should be classified as employees.”

Shares in Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and DoorDash Inc fell as much as 12% on Thursday following Walsh’s comments. Turning gig workers into employees would jeopardize the companies’ business model, which relies on millions of largely part-time workers who do not receive any benefits, such as unemployment or sick pay.

Less than two weeks after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates banded together to form the App-Based Work Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group.

In response to Walsh’s remarks, the Alliance in a statement on Thursday said it looked forward to coming together with the secretary to have “much-needed discussions about advancing modern policies that protect worker independence and flexibility, while strengthening benefits and protections.”

The group says its goal is to achieve changes in U.S. labor law that allow workers to maintain flexibility while also receiving more modest benefits than required for employees, including minimum pay standards, healthcare subsidies and accident insurance.

Uber sent a letter to the Biden transition team in December and one to all members of Congress in February, calling on them to support what the company calls its “third-way” proposal.

Labor groups say that proposal would create a new underclass of workers with fewer rights and protections.

Gig Workers Rising, a group of workers that advocates for greater benefits, on Thursday called on regulators to step in and protect working people.

CALIFORNIA VOTE

The gig economy companies scored a decisive win in California in November, when voters of the Democratic-leaning state supported a company-sponsored ballot measure that cemented gig workers’ status as independent contractors, overwriting a state law that would have made them employees.

Gig workers in the state now have access to limited benefits, including healthcare subsidies, accident insurance and minimum pay while passengers are in their car.

Those benefits are significantly less costly than employee benefits. Turning California ride-hail drivers into employees would have left Uber and Lyft each with more than $392 million in annual payroll taxes and workers’ compensation costs alone, a Reuters calculation showed.

But absent from the proposals companies have put forward so far is the provision of unemployment pay, one of the most costly employer benefits.

The lack of gig workers’ access to unemployment coverage was thrown in the spotlight during the coronavirus pandemic, when an act of Congress saw taxpayers foot the unemployment bill for such workers.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas; Editing by Chris Sanders and Rosalba O’Brien)

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Free the Gig Economy! | City Journal

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Last week, the Biden administration made another effort to drag the U.S. labor market back into the past. The Department of Labor withdrew the independent-contractor rule, a Trump-era regulation that made it easier for firms to classify workers as contractors instead of employees. It’s not yet clear what will replace it, though President Biden says he supports the ABC test that California tried to implement, which would classify most contractors as employees—including not just drivers for Uber and Lyft but even freelance writers.

The Labor Department and the media are framing the administration’s move as a way to ensure that workers in the gig economy are protected and paid overtime and minimum wage. Yet many workers prefer the flexibility of contract work, which lets them set their own hours and work for other companies. According to a Fed survey, most gig workers report high levels of satisfaction with the arrangement. When California tried to classify gig workers as employees, the state faced pushback not just from companies but from gig workers themselves.

They have good reasons to prefer it. The nature of work is changing, as it has throughout history. It once was considered dehumanizing that most workers should be beholden to a single employer. Today, we’re forcing this arrangement on people who don’t want it.

The rollback of the Trump rule joins a list of policies—efforts to increase unionization, low-skill manufacturing, and “shovel-ready” infrastructure jobs—by which the Biden administration is attempting to shoehorn the modern labor market into a 1950s mold. The problem with these policies is that the labor market has changed. When work was more uniform, workers were easier to replace, so forming strong ties to one’s employer made sense for job security. Unionization also made sense because it allowed the large numbers of lower-skilled workers to pool together for similar pay and benefits.

Over time, however, manufacturing, construction, and most other jobs have become more technical, requiring skilled workforces. The more skilled the workers, the less incentive they have to attach themselves to individual jobs or to pool risk with fellow workers. The more skills you have, the less unionization makes sense because you’re effectively subsidizing lower-skilled workers. And workers today also place a higher premium on flexibility. This may explain why the unionization drive at Amazon has not succeeded.

As we emerge from the pandemic, we should expect the value placed on flexibility in work arrangements to increase. The expanded availability of remote work, combined with the continuing unpredictability of school re-openings and child-care arrangements, make benefits like the ability to set your own hours and the freedom to work for multiple employers more important than ever.

Some Biden policies, like making it easier to buy health insurance without an employer, move in the right direction. The administration would do well to pursue more measures like these that embrace the new economy, rather than trying to force workers into structures better suited for the economy of more than a half-century ago.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images



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Pixelbet becomes latest GiG Comply sign-up

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Gaming Innovation Group has lauded a “growing demand” for its automated affiliate marketing compliance screening tool after securing an agreement with Pixelbet.

The company’s solution enables operators to set-up their own criteria and checklist parameters to scan and check affiliate websites for content including igaming code red words, links and regulatory requirements across multiple jurisdictions

It works by using its rules engine to analyse real snapshots from affiliates’ campaigns, and provides operators with the promotional content that is being used in their brands’ promotions.

“The growing demand for our compliance solution is a clear sign that we have created a solution that has become the go-to compliance tool within the igaming industry,” noted Jonas Warrer, CMO at GiG.

“It’s great to see that new and ambitious companies such as Pixelbet value the importance of marketing compliance, we look forward to supporting them in their marketing compliance efforts with GiG Comply.”  

GiG Comply will permit the Malta-based gaming firm to set-up bespoke checklist parameters, which can be tailored to cover market-specific legislation and advertising standards. 

This will allow the group to remain proactive and in control of their affiliate marketing by ensuring that affiliates are aligned with their brand, that responsible gaming measures are visible on relevant pages, and terms and conditions are correct and up to date. 

Eirik Kristiansen, CEO of Pixelbet, added: “We are excited to partner up with GiG through its market-leading GiG Comply software. This strong product fits perfectly with our current and future business objectives, enabling us to further improve how we manage our affiliate compliance operations. 

“This partnership will help Pixelbet ensure that our affiliates can continue offering high quality experiences that are fully compliant with regional regulations and requirements.”



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GiG adds Pixelbet to its list of partners for GiG Comply – European Gaming Industry News

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Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG), has signed an agreement with Malta based gaming company, Pixelbet Digital Ltd. for its automated affiliate marketing compliance screening tool, GiG Comply.

GiG Comply is a self-service marketing compliance solution, which enables operators to set-up their own criteria and checklist parameters to scan and check affiliate websites for content including iGaming code red words, links and regulatory requirements across multiple jurisdictions. GiG Comply works by using its rules engine to analyse real snapshots from affiliates’ campaigns and provides operators with the promotional content that is being used in their brands’ promotions.

GiG Comply will enable Pixelbet to set-up their own criteria and checklist parameters and can be tailored to cover any market-specific requirements, helping to ensure that they remain compliant in multiple jurisdictions. This will not only help Pixelbet to ensure they remain compliant and safeguard their licence but will also help them to achieve their mission to be the number one authentic and trusted esports sportsbook online.

Eirik Kristiansen, CEO of Pixelbet, said “We are excited to partner up with GiG through its market-leading GIG Comply software. This strong product fits perfectly with our current and future business objectives, enabling us to further improve how we manage our affiliate compliance operations. This partnership will help Pixelbet ensure that our affiliates can continue offering high quality experiences that are fully compliant with regional regulations and requirements.”

Jonas Warrer, CMO at GiG, said The growing demand for our compliance solution is a clear sign that we have created a solution that has become the go-to compliance tool within the iGaming industry. It’s great to see that new and ambitious companies such as Pixelbet value the importance of marketing compliance, we look forward to supporting them in their marketing compliance efforts with GiG Comply.”  

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